1871 Alexander Sullivan, the lawyer that failed to save Roger Casement from the death penalty, was born on this day in 1871 in Dublin.
Sullivan was persuaded to take the case as no English lawyer would defend Casement. He was on trial for treason after he had tried to import arms for the Irish nationalists for their planned Easter Rising rebellion against the British.
Sullivan failed to win the case and Casement was sentenced to death.
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1937 Irish Feminism Movement suffered greatly, as Éamon de Valera’s new constitution approved that ‘women’s place’ was in the home. The 1922 constitution stated; “the State recognises that by her life within the home, woman gives to the State a support without which the common good cannot be achieved”.
De Valera believed that male breadwinners should earn enough to allow wives to remain and ‘look-after’ the home. It was described as the ‘death knell of the working women’.
Peter Berresford Ellis (historian) says ‘the 1937 constitution made chauvinism an institution and was a betrayal of the women who had fought for Irish independence and equality.’
One of the Principles of the 1916 Proclamation (and the 1922 Constitution) was a guarantee of “religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens”. Éamon de Valera’s new constitution overturned this principle.
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1965 Irish Prime Minister Seán Lemass made a secret visit to Belfast to hold talks with the Northern Irish leader, Terence O’Neill on this day in 1965. The two men discussed the way forward for the two countries regarding trade and transport matters. They also considered the possibility of All-Irish teams being put together to play at major sporting events.
The meeting was considered to be the start of an ease in the tension and Lemass invited O’Neill to continue the discussions in Dublin by a few weeks later.
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1992 Happy birthday to Robbie Brady, born in Dublin on this day in 1992. Brady is a professional football player and has played in the English Premier League for Hull City. He represented the Republic of Ireland at U17, U19, and U21 levels, and scored a goal on his debut for the first team.
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1997 On this day, 14 January 1997, Cavan O’Connor died. He was an Irish tenor and a variety artist, and spent most of his performing on stage. He nearly always performed in his trademark white suit topped off with a crumpled white slouch hat.
Here’s Cavan O’Connor singing one of his best known songs, I’ll Take You Home Again Kathleen.
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2000 On this day in 2000, it was announced that the unemployment level in Ireland was at its lowest level in 19 years.
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2000 Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams caused outrage amongst Unionist politicians on this day in 2000. He claimed that there could be a united Ireland by the year 2016, the centenary of the Easter Rising.